Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Friday, November 16th, 2018

No Room for Talks

Despite the global campaign against terrorist networks, terrorism still remains a serious threat to the world and shed the blood of innocent individuals. Within the past decades, terrorist fighters continued war against all nations without enunciating the main reasons behind their attacks. With the emergence of scores of terrorist outfits with multiple frames of mind, the world encountered greater challenges and death toll increased on a large scale.
Terrorist networks are believed to be constituted of two kinds of fighters: First the ideologues who claim to fight for their beliefs and seek “altruistic suicide” rather than “egoistic suicide”. The ideologues cherish religious ideology and fight to death. Ideology is similar to destructive storm and will surge up strongly that will lead to great destruction and kill combatants and non-combatants alike. However, the ideology of religious fundamentalists differs from one group to another. For example, the Taliban are less radical than the self-styled Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). The Taliban hardly target sacred places or kill people on the grounds of their race or religion – they did so to some extent. Nonetheless, the ISIL foment sectarian violence and show no mercy to anyone. They also kill people in the worst possible way. Moreover, the Taliban sought to establish an “Islamic Emirate” in Afghanistan but the ISIL group emerged with loftier ambition and claimed to establish caliphate on the surface of earth. In fact, there is a red line for radical group. In the beginning of their regime, the Taliban were not involved in sectarian violence and they did not discriminate between their members and others. In case of crossing the red line, their own members were also punished severely. But their war was colored with sect during the final years of their regime.
Second, there are mercenary fighters who will observe no boundaries. Scores of individuals who did not have the opportunity to live a life of luxury, eat sumptuous meal, or dance with girls, join militants. They are mostly thugs and will cross all red lines. Mercenaries will be engaged in moral turpitude, merciless killings, etc. For example the ISIL group practiced harshly, raped women, had sexual intercourse with a number of girls under the mask of religion, and killed men, women, and children for their racial and religious backgrounds. They neither valued religious tenets nor moral codes. So, nothing was sacred for them.
Both ideologues and mercenaries play highly destructive role in a community. The reasons are clear: Ideologues will shed blood out of radical mindset. Their ideology is wrong and radical. They show no tolerance for the religious practices of other sects or religious groups. Their ideology will leave them with small restriction. On the other hand, mercenaries know no faith or code of ethics. They fight to alleviate their financial constraints or satiate their carnal desires. The death of mercenaries is no more than “egoistic suicide” since they fight selfishly and value nothing or no one.
It is believed that both the aforementioned fighters pursue death – be it egoistic or altruistic – and, unlike political opponents, they will not negotiate with governments. Despite this fact, Afghan government seeks to bring the Taliban to negotiating table. The High Peace Council (HPC), which was established in 2010, was tasked to persuade the Taliban to hold talks but there is no achievement since the establishment of this council. After all, the Taliban have intensified their attacks and inflicted heavy casualties upon Afghan soldiers and civilians. The US soldiers also sustained heavy casualties since the attack launched by Bush administration in response to 9/11 attacks carried out by al-Qaeda and left three thousand people dead.
Only Hezb-e-Islami Afghanistan (HIA) led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar joined Afghan government. According to Hekmatyar, the HPC had no role in this issue. After all, it should be noted that HIA, unlike terrorist networks, was a political party with no certain ideology. They fought against the government for being political opponent. Subsequently, the party negotiated and reached an agreement with the government. Will terrorist networks reach an agreement with the government?
One of the main reasons behind the Taliban’s refusal to hold talks is that they fought bloody battles in the past and killed thousands of people under ideological cloak. Now if they stop war and join government, they will not be able to justify their past and it will lead to many splinter groups. They do not give Afghan government the green light and their intensified attacks reflect their lukewarm response to peace talks.
One of the preconditions of the Taliban on peace talks was the withdrawal of foreign forces. However, with the withdrawal of foreign forces – as the US military role reduced to consultative role and the bulk of US soldiers withdrew from Afghanistan in 2014 – the Taliban intensified their attacks and occupied Kunduz two times. It bespeaks of the fact the Taliban are not committed on their words and must not be trusted. They have proved it. Their next precondition, which was releasing their prisoners, were also fulfilled during Hamid Karzai’s administration and a number of the Taliban’s dangerous prisoners were released, but they joined the battles against government. They also killed the former head of HPC Professor Burhanuddin Rabbani in 2011. Hence, there is no room left for talks, is there?